Chugiak lacks numbers to field a JV hockey team

Underclassmen make up majority of varsity squad


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Chugiak goalie Joe Lindquist leaps in the air to make a save during Chugiak’s 11-0 loss to Service on Nov. 4 at the McDonald Center in Eagle River.

STAR PHOTO BY MATT TUNSETH

There will be a lot of well-dressed Chugiak High hockey fans this season.

Because the Mustangs aren’t fielding a junior varsity team for the first time in school history, several of the varsity squad’s 26 players will be donning suits and ties rather than pads during games. But at least they get to practice.

Not wanting to cut the nine would-be JV players, 12th year head coach Rod Wild decided to place them on the varsity roster and develop their skills during practice.

During the coaches’ preseason meeting, they all agreed that a minimum of 10 skaters plus a goalie was needed to field a JV team, said Derek Hagler, Anchorage School District high school supervisor. Chugiak fell just shy of that mark.

The agreement, which Hagler said is not an ASD rule, was decided for players’ safety, he said.

Having seen recent Chugiak JV teams with just eight skaters, Wild said it was time to set a minimum roster number before someone got injured. Teams with fewer skaters become fatigued more easily, Wild said, which increases the potential for injury.

Just three Cook Inlet Conference teams — Service, South Anchorage and Dimond — are fielding JV teams this year, said Colette Marshall, ASD coordinating principal for ice hockey.

While some teams, like Eagle River and Bartlett, are rarely able to field a JV team, it’s surprising Chugiak doesn’t have one, Wild said.

“It’s the first time in the history of Chugiak we haven’t had a JV program,” he said.

Having two local high schools with much smaller enrollments than other CIC schools has hurt all athletics, Wild said.

Wild said when only Chugiak High existed, 70 kids would try out for hockey. Though that’s not the case anymore, Wild said he’s not complaining.

“It is what it is,” he said. “You find a way to deal with it.”

Backstopping the Mustangs is senior goaltender Joe Lindquist. He and Chad Peterson are the only two seniors on the team with varsity experience, Wild said.

While Lindquist will be key in keeping Chugiak’s net a rubber-free zone, Wild said, Peterson is in charge of igniting the Mustangs’ offense.

“He’ll bear a lot of the burden for our offense,” Wild said.

This year’s team is made up of several underclassmen, Wild said.

“We have a lot of ninth and tenth graders,” he said.

Wild said he’s looking for good things from one of those youngsters in sophomore Kris Tomazevic.

As evidence from the 8-0 beating Chugiak took in its season-opener against Dimond on Nov. 1, the Lynx will be among the best in the Cook Inlet Conference, Wild said. Service — which beat Chugiak 11-0 on Nov. 4 — and South will also be teams to beat, he said. Chugiak fell to 0-3 to start the season with a 7-0 loss to East on Nov. 8. The Mustangs leave today for a three-game road trip against Lathrop, North Pole and West Valley.

Wild said he doesn’t want his team focusing solely on wins and losses this season. Rather, he sets goals for each game.

Those include work ethic, discipline and responding positively to negative situations, Wild said.

“We focus on things we can control,” he said.

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com.

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